home cooked dinners by the season

30-Minute Chicken Lettuce Wraps

30-Minute Chicken Lettuce Wraps

IMG_0123Our love affair with these wraps began many years ago, but I’ve resisted sharing it with you because even though I’ve tweaked and personalized the recipe my daughter got from one of the families she babysits for, I do not know the original source. I am pretty sure it was inspired by the wraps they serve at P.F. Chang’s restaurant, but I cannot give proper credit. What I do know is they’re incredibly flavorful, fun to eat and the recipe goes together in 30 minutes or less. And that I make them every other week.

The slightly sweet and crunchy water chestnuts are one of the key ingredients. What is a water chestnut anyway? It’s the edible tuber part of an indigenous Southeast Asian plant that grows under water. Unlike their name, they are not a nut, but a vegetable with a brownish black paper-thin skin. They get their name because they resemble a chestnut. We are most familiar with the canned version that comes peeled and either whole or sliced. But they can be bought fresh at Asian markets and simply peeled before using in recipes.

Hoisin sauce is a staple ingredient in my pantry and once opened in my refrigerator. It’s a slightly thick, brownish sauce with a sweet and mildly spicy flavor. It’s made from a mixture of soybeans, garlic, chile peppers and spices and is widely used in Chinese cooking. Most grocery stores stock it in the Asian section.

Sesame oil is another one of my pantry basics. It’s extracted from sesame seeds and comes in a light and dark version. I prefer the dark for its strong flavor and how it adds depth to anything it’s added to. Look for it in the Asian section of the grocery store, as well.

P.S. I hope you like my newly revised site. It is still under construction so look for more changes soon. But in the mean time, it should be easier to navigate and find the recipes you are looking for.

30-Minute Chicken Lettuce Wraps
Serves: 4 (8 wraps)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground chicken
  • Kosher salt
  • Fresh ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 2 (5 ounce) cans whole or sliced water chestnuts, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • ½ cup roughly chopped roasted peanuts
  • ⅓ cup hoisin sauce
  • ⅓ cup chopped green onion
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro
  • 2-3 tablespoons regular or reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 8 romaine or Bibb lettuce leaves, bottom stem/stalk trimmed (about 1 head)
  1. Heat oil over medium heat in a large skillet; add chicken; season with salt and pepper and cook and stir until cooked through and browned, breaking apart into smaller pieces as it cooks; sprinkle in sesame oil and cook and stir 30 seconds.
  2. Stir in remaining ingredients, except lettuce.
  3. Spoon a heaping ½ cup chicken filling on each lettuce leaf.


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20 thoughts on “30-Minute Chicken Lettuce Wraps”

    • Enjoy! Always fun to add a little something spicy too if you like that – chopped fresh serrano chili peppers or even easier- red pepper flakes.

    • That’s what I love these are such a win-win because everyone will love them and they are so easy to put together. Great to hear from you, as always.

  • These are very good and so easy! I added some shitake (because I had some to use up) and made some jasmine rice to accompany them.
    Will definitely make again, thank you!

    • Thanks for writing, Liz. I am glad you enjoyed the wraps and I love your additions of shitake and rice.

  • I made these and they were delicious. I usually buy chicken breasts and haven’t varied my chicken recipes too much so I found cooking with ground chicken a nice change. I am not a fan of water chestnuts (at least not canned and I didn’t have fresh) so I substituted celery which was great. Same crunch, slightly different flavor. This ones a keeper. Thanks Linda!

  • This is now a regular in my recipe repertoire. Every time I make it my husband remarks on how good it is. I had a bag of roasted hazelnuts to I used those instead of peanuts. It was very good.

    • I love hearing it’s now a regular for you. I make it all the time too. That was a smart substitution with the hazelnuts – yum. Always great to hear from you, Sherilyn.

  • I just have to say again every time I make this recipe Rich and I marvel at how tasty it is and so healthy. Thanks again!!

    • Yes and it is wonderful that way too. An easy picnic packable if you keep it in a cooler. Fun to hear from you Katie.

  • I made these today for a birthday gathering, and they were so easy and delicious! I love some spice so added red pepper flakes and happened to have some spicy peanuts on hand, so added them to normal peanuts. So good!

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